CENTRAL COAST FAMILIES ENTER THE DIGITAL AGE
Only 47 per cent of financially disadvantaged families have access to a computer at home, compared with 89 per cent in higher income earning groups, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics¹.
The Smith Family hopes to bridge this digital divide by making access to computers and the internet more affordable for 20 Central Coast families, as part of its Tech Packs initiative.
Through Tech Packs families are able to purchase refurbished computers at an affordable price and are provided with 12 months free internet connection and training in basic computer skills.
In partnership with The Smith Family, the Tuggerah Lakes Kincumber Community College has provided a four week training course to provide parents with a basic understanding of computer use so that they are able to make the most of their new computers at home. The final training session will take place on Thursday 29th March between 1pm and 3pm.
The Tech Pack Project aims to improve community digital literacy, equipping children and their families who may otherwise not be able to afford computers, with the technological skills that are now prerequisites for participation in lifelong learning and social inclusion. It has been made possible through the involvement of Stuart Alexander Australia and B2C Technologies
"Families shouldn't be left behind just because they don't have access to a computer at home and it's increasingly important for students to be able to use a computer to complete their homework," said Learning for Life Worker on the Central Coast, Lynda Pitty. "The parents who have taken up the Tech Packs are involved in our Learning for Life program, which provides educational sponsorship for their children to help them reach their full potential."
Research shows that access to ICT (information, communication and technology) can increase study and employment opportunities for parents and young people, improve the capacity of parents to support children at school, increase the engagement of children at school, and improve individual's self-esteem and overall wellbeing.
1. Source: Australian Bureau of Statistics. (2008). Australian Social Trends: Internet Access At Home - Educational attainment and income.